Growing Strong in the Broken Places
"But he [God] said to me [Paul], 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."1
Do you ever feel that God can't use you because you aren't qualified? If so, you're in good company. Many of us feel the same way. In fact, there were very few men or women in the Bible who were used of God who didn't have a personal struggle or challenge of one kind or another. Moses and Mary weren't the only ones who didn't feel qualified for the work God was calling them to do!
An unknown author has pointed out that "Moses stuttered. John Mark was rejected by Paul. Timothy had ulcers. Hosea's wife was a prostitute. Amos's only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning. Jacob lied. David had an affair. Solomon had too many wives and concubines. Jesus was too poor and wasn't schooled in the right religious institutions. Abraham and Sarah were too old. David was too young. Peter was impulsive. John had a temper. Naomi was a widow. Paul was a murderer, as was Moses. Jonah ran from God. Gideon and Thomas both doubted. Jeremiah was depressed. Elijah was burned out. Martha worried too much. Matthew was a despised tax-gatherer. Noah had a drinking problem."
It was Ernest Hemingway who first wrote about the world breaking us all but some grow strong in the broken places. The idea behind these words is that where a bone is broken and heals, it becomes the strongest part of the bone. The same is true of our broken places—where we have been hurt, have fallen, or failed. When we bring these to Christ for healing, his strength is then made perfect in and through our weaknesses. This is certainly true in ministering to other people. Our friends are not helped so much by our brilliant logic or persuasive speech[,] as they are through honest sharing of our own struggles and how, with God's help, we have overcome. As one speaker put it, sharing our faith in Christ is just a case of one beggar showing another beggar where to find bread!
God, of course, doesn't want us to stay stuck in our sins and problems. While he loves and accepts us as we are, and uses us as we are, he loves us too much to leave us as we are. But never think that you have too little talent or too many hurts or problems for God to use you. The key issue is to be available. Everyone that God has ever used has had their weaknesses, sins, and failings. But they were available, and they have been remembered for what God did through their lives. God will do the same for you and me as we make ourselves available for him to use every day.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, I'm available. Please make me usable and use me today to be as Jesus in some way to every life I touch. And please use me in whatever way you choose to be a part of your plans and what you are doing in the world today. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).